Practical BIM support for the construction industry



Andy Butterfield, Product Certification Director of Built Environment, BSI and Rebecca de Cicco, Director, Digital Node* share their views on  BIM and why it’s time for all to get on board.


What do you think is the level of awareness that the UK construction industry has around BIM?

AB: We’re definitely seeing an increased awareness of BIM within the industry. Organizations are really starting to appreciate the need for faster, more efficient delivery of infrastructure or building projects. BIM is becoming vital for working with clients in the construction industry and therefore organizations must be able to demonstrate their capability to deliver projects using BIM. Whilst organizations are at different stages of their BIM journey, we’re definitely seeing more involvement.   

 RdC: I have been a part of the Construction industry for over 10 years and have worked closely with organisations of all types to ensure they are designing, building and operating their facilities more intelligently.  BIM is only a small part of this continual development and the BIM implementation requirement enabled via the UK Government has provided a strong framework in order to do so. Having said this, many of our construction companies are those that fall into the SME band and are still struggling to see where BIM and BIM Level 2 fits into their existing projects and practices.


Where is the UK industry in the grand scheme of things, compared to other countries around the globe?

AB: The Government framework in the UK has definitely accelerated the need for BIM in the UK, however what many organizations are realising is that the use of BIM doesn’t just bring benefits for Government projects. Achieving certification for BIM Level 2 for Construction and Design can also give organizations competitive advantage when it comes to private projects and we’re increasingly seeing this as a driver for organizations seeking certification. Interestingly, we’re also starting to see organizations around the globe wanting to demonstrate their BIM ability and to help them adopt our certification.

RdC: There has been a variety of implementation solutions used globally, however the UK Government requirement and the standards that have been developed around the BIM process have supported the UK in consistently delivering to a common framework. This is something seen in very few regions and therefore the UK is an exemplar nation when it comes to implementation.


Why should companies be involved with BIM and how is it going to help them?

AB: The influence of digital technology on the Built Environment is only going to increase, and BIM is an important aspect of this new world. For those companies looking to gain competitive advantage, reduce outgoings and work more efficiently, certification can help to support this strategy.

BSI’s scheme for the design and construction phase enables organizations to provide evidence that they have the capability to deliver both private and public projects using BIM. 

RdC: The construction industry is evolving and changing at rapid speed. Not only has this been a result of technology but also process change, policy changes and cultural changes all of which affect our industry. As a result, those companies not evolving and upskilling their teams will ultimately fall behind and not be able to work within a rapidly changing industry.


How does BIM cascade down the supply chain?

AB: It’s important that all those involved in the construction supply chain are BIM-ready – not just the main contractors or Tier 1s.  All organizations must be able to demonstrate their BIM capability in order to be considered for commercial projects. Those main contractors who wish to better manage their supply chain, will require sub-contractors to demonstrate their capability to deliver projects using BIM. From a certification point of view, we’re starting to see more take-up from smaller businesses and SMEs who wish to demonstrate their capability to the main contractors. 

RdC: All members of the supply chain must be aware of the overall requirements and information required by our asset and organisational management teams across projects. Therefore, although some of our processes may vary, the supply chain must be aware of all areas of BIM which align to the aspirations of the client and owner.


Where would be a good place to start for BIM? What practical steps could a company take to help them get ready with the process?

AB: It’s important that organizations understand what is most important for their business, how they can make improvements within the supply chain and ultimately deliver what clients need.  We’ve developed a number of training courses in order to help raise awareness and ensure that BIM is embedded within each organization. These courses are fully aligned with Government and industry requirements, as well as the relevant BIM standards.

RdC: The standards supporting BIM are a strong and consistent framework to ensure that the industry works to a common process and standard and are therefore a good foundation for learning.  The BSI BIM courses have also been written to help breakdown the complexities surrounding BIM processes (and terminology).


To learn more about services for implementing and embedding BIM within your organization, visit our BIM training page.


* Digital Node have been working with BSI to develop a series of BIM training courses.